WMUx and Disability Student Services are excited to announce the release of a new tool integrated within Elearning to aid in the creation and support of accessible instructional content.
What Is It?
Ally is a new feature in Elearning that promotes inclusivity for all learners. Ally monitors the accessibility of our institution’s instructional content, provides guidance and tips to instructors for making lasting improvements to course materials, and affords students more autonomy in personalizing the learning material.
Benefit to Students
Ally automatically generates accessible alternative versions of files and makes them available to students in all courses while leaving the original file untouched. For example, Ally can provide content in tagged PDF, HTML, ePub, electronic braille, audio, and BeeLine reader formats. The alternative formats benefit all students, regardless of their learning needs, device (laptop, phone, desktop, tablet), and learning environment (classroom, commute, library, gym, home, etc.).
Benefit to Instructors
Ally provides guidance and tips for instructors in making lasting improvements to content accessibility in their courses. Ally will identify accessibility issues, describe what the issue is, the impact of the issue, and provide step-by-step directions for fixing content. This is an easy way to provide in-context information about an instructor’s content.
Benefit to the Instructional Support Team
For the support staff responsible for assisting instructors and students with accessibility-related issues, Ally will provide a high-level view around the state of accessibility of the online instructional content. This data can help to prioritize resources, support decision-making, and track institutional progress.
When Is Ally Available?
Ally will be enabled in all Elearning sections for all WMU courses on August 28, 2020.
What Do I Need To Do?
Once enabled, instructors will be able to view an accessibility score for each existing content item in their Elearning course shell. Please take a moment to explore the accessibility score for the content items, looking for items that are scored as “Low” or “Medium.” Ally will provide clarification on why the item has been flagged as a concern and offer steps to remediate the problem. Follow the steps to resolve the issue and, if you are unsure about how to solve the problem, contact the accessibility team for guidance.
Do I Need to Achieve Perfection?
No. While our goal is to ensure that all content is accessible for all students, achieving a perfect score will be challenging. We are focusing on incremental improvement from term-to-term.
Who Can View My Accessibility Scores?
Only instructors and members of the instructional support team can view your course’s accessibility score. The score is intended to be a simple indicator to aid in the prioritization of remediation and is not a means of instructor evaluation.
How Do I Get Support?
The accessibility team at the Faculty Technology Center will provide support and assist with the remediation of content.
Where Do I Find Additional Information?
Support and additional information will be found within the tool itself. Context sensitive prompts and information links are available in Elearning. You can also visit the support pages within WMU’s Help Hub at https://helphub.wmich.edu/hc/en-us/sections/360010119851-Accessibility-Ally